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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:25 pm 
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Hi everyone. For those who dont know, I'm now living in Wilderness, and have been in touch with the new owners of Wolwerivier. There have been a few questions, but as of today, 23 / 7 / 12, this is the latest -

The farm is now under new ownership, and has had a name change to 'Swartvlei Equestrian Center'.

This will not effect the access to climbers, however the access to the Wolwerivier crag is off limits at the moment, for another 3 weeks. The owner is currently is discussion with lawyers to finalise insurance and liability issues regarding adventure activities on the farm re injuries / death / fires / damage to property etc, and he told me today that this will be wrapped up in about 3 weeks, after which time he will let me know.

He has no problems with climbing at Wolwerivier, however there will be a day-rate which will be charged. Apart from the equestrian center, the farm will be used as a center for adventure sport such as MTB / climbing / kayaking etc, all of whom will pay the day entry rate, and there are chalets avaliable for overnight hire. ( very nice ones too)

He is unable to tell me at this time what the rate will be. Lets hold thumbs.

Regards

Jeff


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 9:24 pm 
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Real Name: Karl Hayden
Hi Jeff, good to see that someone has at last sorted something out with the owners. Having climbed there some years back I have tried to get back time & again but to no avail as it has always been a bit of ask organizational nightmare.
Don't mind paying for access, I think it will limit things down to people who really want to get to the crag. As long as the new owners preserve the pristine area, I'm all for it. :)


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:02 pm 
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Real Name: Justin Lawson
Thanks Jeff :thumleft:

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:42 am 
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Real Name: Gabriel le Roux
Thank you Jeff - very much appreciated!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 8:49 am 
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Real Name: Cuan Lohrentz
Yep, If it is the same owner from a few months back he wanted to charge something STUPID like R150 per person per day ( for that price it is cheaper to drive to Oudtshoorn or Montagu for the weekend in terms of petrol from George!).

We made a post here to ask about it as we are not sure the crag is eve on his land, owing to its proximity to the river there.

Anyway, let's hope it is a new owner and that they are not full of the brown stuff like the one who wanted to charge us that silly price!


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 24, 2012 7:59 pm 
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Real Name: Sven Seeberger
Hi Jeff

Thank you, keep us updated.

Love climbing there.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:33 pm 
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Hi Guys. Just chatted again to Mario Ferreira, who has been appointed by the new owners to handle the farm, and he said there is still no clarity on the insurance issues, and I was told it may still be another month minimum. In his words - " It's not a priority at this point with all the new development happening".

He confirmed that no access is permitted to the crag. :?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:20 pm 
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Real Name: Jacques
Jeff - any chance you can ask the owner (when u see them again) where their boundary ends (ie, do they own the actual crag) or the just the forest area above and to the side of it...if not, we could make a path along the river and access crag from the River (worst case)...

I don't mind paying a nominal fee (max R30) for day, but out of principal would never pay R100+ (that would be plain greedy)...
Us Garden Route okes are so limited here...I wonder if there are other crags within WolweRivier that can be bolted...whenever I go there, I always look across the valley to the other side...there is a crag quiet high up...wonder if that is climbable?


Thanks for your effort, we appreciate it!

J

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:58 pm 
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How long ago where these routes bolted now?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:18 pm 
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Most of the routes where opened on trad in 1987 and then retro bolted (+ new routes bolted) around 2004!?

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2012 9:36 pm 
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Real Name: Craig Burden
Ok wait so does this mean no access forever? Or just for a month or so? I REALLY want to climb there. I am willing to pay but it must be reasonable of course.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 8:16 am 
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Real Name: Cuan Lohrentz
Does anyone have access to a topography map with property boundaries on it?
Because if the crag lies off his property (which I suspect, as it is in the river gorge), then we can just approach from a river crossing lower down.
We've been checking that out for a while, but I have no access to any such map :(


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:04 am 
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Real Name: Dirk Talma
Hey. I've got 1:50 000 maps of SA. If someone can send me the gps coords of the crag I can send you the correct map. These maps are quite large, so Im not emailing a bunch of them.

Dirk Talma
dirk.talma@gmail.com


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:07 am 
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Real Name: Cuan Lohrentz
Sweet...I wonder though if it will have property boundaries on it...?
I've heard though that it may not be clear whether the crag is on their property just from the map.
One may need to check the property deed or something to see whether waterways or a certain distance from the waterway is included as their property...?
Someone get the co-ords...I'll go look on Google Earth and see if i can get them..


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:10 am 
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Real Name: Cuan Lohrentz
OK...the coords are roughly around here ...
-33.973083,22.722448

if you'd like you can email me the map at lohrentz.cuan@gmail.com
I have access to GIS software as well, so perhaps a subset of the data if you have would be great ;)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:33 am 
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Cuan, my maps aren't very useful. Check out this thread on a place near Middelburg (MP): http://climb.co.za/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=8119
There was a guy called Mark Straughan who looked at the deeds of the place. Send him a PM


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:43 pm 
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Real Name: Lizelle Makovini
Cuan

I sent you an email :)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:46 pm 
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Real Name: Cuan Lohrentz
Hi Liz,

Thanks :) To my Gmail?

Cheers,
Cuan


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:14 pm 
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Hi J..I'll check in again with Mario tomorrow and see what the deal is. Im also a bit impatient, if its an insurance thing like they say, then a simple sign saying they take no responsibility will cover that, but yes, Im not keen to be ripped off to climb there. :?


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:30 pm 
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Hi All

saw Mario today, the dude thats been appointed to run access to the Wolwerivier farm. He says the new owners have decided NO ACCESS. Thats that. I suggested that the crag was not on the farm, and he insists that it is on the farm. So it seems that unless we can prove otherwise, that may be that. He then contradicted himself and said if people are prepared to sleep in the chalets ( quite luxurious so Im guessing costly) then they can use the crag? Go figure. :roll:


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:54 pm 
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Real Name: Cuan Lohrentz
What a wanker...the lot of them. Like it was suggested previously...we pay to stay a night, then go and remove all the hangers and salvage what we can to use elsewhere...


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:20 am 
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Real Name: Nic Le Maitre
Cuan, I can understand your disappointment, it sucks to have access revoked but the land owner has full rights to make that decision. We have no guaranteed right to climb anywhere in SA and nothing we can do will change that.

The only option left would be to approach your local branch of the MCSA and see if they are prepared to make an offer for the land.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 11:24 am 
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Real Name: Cuan Lohrentz
He has rights yes, but it still doesn't detract from the fact that he is being a tool.
Also, all the time and effort that went into developing that crag has now been wasted and I see no problem with us salvaging what is possible to be used elsewhere.
I no longer live in George (unfortunately), but hopefully the local guys can make a plan.

But OBVIOUSLY...do not do anything dodge. As I said in the last message. Pay to stay there for the night, but arrange that the gear be removed (MCSA S Cape branch guys in Sedgefield to be consulted too).
P.S. Has anyone spoken to them recently about this by any chance?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:10 pm 
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Nic, it can be changed. In the UK the laws surrounding what constitutes common land and how one may access it have been changed a few times over the years. The end result being that Englishmen can now access their own country. It's completely BONKERS that people may claim ownership of hills, mountains, rivers, klowe, etc. Those are part of our national heritage, our land. The current situation SUCKS, and the MCSA should be fighting it tooth and nail.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:24 pm 
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Yes, but we are not in the UK, with its' laws about common rights-of-way and "time immemorial" statutes. We are in South Africa where private land is private land and the owner has a right to control access to it, we do not have a heritage of unfettered access to private land because some special interest group wants it to be so (and yes, we climbers are a special interest group and a tiny one at that).

If, for instance, there was an attraction in your garden and people insisted on visiting it violating your right to privacy, claiming that they have a "right to be there", would you be happy with that? How is that attraction different to a mountain/crag on a farm? What constitutes the difference between them? Is it because farms are bigger than your garden, is that what makes them different? Who decides where the difference lies? Is that land owners right to privacy worth less than your desire to climb at his crag? Who decides which activities are worthy of such access?

The fact of the matter is we have constitutionally guaranteed rights to privacy and property while access is at the discretion of the owner. That will not change short of an amendment to the constitution.

I appreciate that I am being the Devil's Advocate here, perhaps my view is coloured by my own experiences. I live on a small holding which shares a boundary with a nature reserve on which there is excellent mountain biking, hiking and other outdoor activities. The gate fee is nominal (~R25/day or R200/year) and free if you have a Wild Card and yet virtually every single day people cross our property, ignoring no trespassing signs, climb fences (often damaging them) and destroy vegetation in order to avoid paying these small fees (all of them carrying on their person items far exceeding the gate fees in value). I have been verbally abused and threats of physical violence have been made against me on occasion when I have informed people that they are trespassing and must leave our property.

I appreciate that this bad behaviour represents the minority of users but it does colour my perception of the entire group. A further factor is that farm murder rates are four times higher than the national average, yet another incentive for land owners to deny access.

If you wish to gain access to mountain areas then support the MCSA. It alone has the standing and finances to negotiate access agreements and purchase land. It's position as a major land owner in South Africa gives it a strong bargaining position and creates better understandings with land owners.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 1:35 pm 
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Hi Nic,

Well said and very true.
But in the Wolwerivier case that is mostly irrelevant, as the owner has not given any indication at to why he's not allowing access, only hinted at liability issues.
If he'd been cooperative and opened it up (for a fee would work better as it would chase away people who were't as serious) then at least he would be making some cash or something. And then if people were being chops then he could close it. But being presumptuous and hard headed and unwilling to even negotiate or hear out the community after he purchased a farm on which there was already climbing really is just being full of it.
I (and many others I am sure) do not take well to closed-minded people unwilling to listen to concerns of others and negotiating from behind a third party (the manager in this case).

The main issue for me is that the routes were there previously and we could climb if we called and arranged. Then it changed owners (from what I know) and now it's off.
It would not have bothered me much had I always climbed in CT, but any climbing area in and around George is rare and the community very small, so loosing a crag like this has a HUGE impact on them.

meh :(


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:03 pm 
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Thermophage wrote:
If he'd been cooperative and opened it up (for a fee would work better as it would chase away people who were't as serious) then at least he would be making some cash or something. And then if people were being chops then he could close it. But being presumptuous and hard headed and unwilling to even negotiate or hear out the community after he purchased a farm on which there was already climbing really is just being full of it.


Firstly, having some fee paying structure in place implies that he is providing a service and there are responsibilities that go with that. No disclaimer form in South Africa will stand up to a really determined lawyer. Fees also create an administrative problem, you need to have someone to collect the fees and provide change etc. Therefore there will be money on the property which creates a security problem and increases the risk of crime.

Secondly, having an agreement in place with the previous landowner in no way implies that it will exist in perpetuity unless that agreement is built into the deeds and the sale agreement.

I guess he just doesn't like the idea of climbers on his larny resort and has (quite within his rights) withheld access. He doesn't have to have a better reason than that.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:08 pm 
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OK, fine, noted. But it still doesn't mean he's not being a dipstick about it.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:28 pm 
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Thermophage wrote:
OK, fine, noted. But it still doesn't mean he's not being a dipstick about it.


If he's reading this he may very well be thinking the same about you. I can assure that the way you're asserting your right (to free speech) is not helping the situation in the least.

Thermophage wrote:
then if people were being chops then he could close it

Perhaps there were already such cases?

I'm with Nic on this. And I'd sure as shit not even consider opening up my land anytime soon to a community calling me a <edit - removed, emile> person. Would you?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 2:33 pm 
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No, I would not.
But the fact is that we never did say anything like that about him, UNTIL after he decided to close it.

So he can read it. The story is over now from the information which has been provided to us, he has made up his mind completely. There is no more negotiating.
So yes, he is closed minded, presumptuous and hard-headed if he has not once been willing to meet anyone in person do discuss his concerns.


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